Thursday, November 24, 2016

Food is...

Happy Thanksgiving! I woke up early this morning with a grateful heart. I admit, for the last week or so I've had a lot of mixed emotions and negative feelings. It all started on Friday... what would have been my stillborn son's 14th birthday. It's ALWAYS a day of profound sadness every year. Grief for a little boy that I only carried for 21 weeks and held for a little while outside of my body. That grief spilled into the weekend, and lots of tears were shed.

I spent some time at the beach on Sunday with my family and it made me feel better (it always does). My two day work week flew by and I am super thankful for 5 days off.

I had not planned on cooking Thanksgiving dinner. My heart and mind just wanted to avoid the holiday all together. Thanksgiving has always been my FAVORITE holiday. And it's because of all the wonderful memories made with my mom, and then my mom and I, cooking dinner and baking pies and cakes. It was always a big deal. Momma's dressing was the highlight of my year. At some point after I got married, she passed the dressing torch to me. When my mom told me that my dressing was officially better than hers, I was so happy. Then Thanksgiving dinner was my things... I would cook for my mom. We would cook together.

I can remember preparing our last meal together... 2010. And every year after that after she moved to Missouri with my sister, my little family and I would drive the 5 hours there and my sister and I would cook together for my mom. She would join us for the day from the nursing home.

Thanksgiving = my mom. And my mom is gone now and it's so hard.

But I know she would be so disappointed if I skipped the day. Because my own family loves this holiday, too.

So once I decided to cook something, my family FIRMLY told me that if they even SEE cauliflower in the kitchen they will go crazy. Clyde put his foot down... no sugar-free desserts, no faux food. They wanted the real deal Thanksgiving dinner.

Because it's just one day.

So after my 19-year old daughter got her paycheck and offered to buy groceries on Tuesday, we planned a menu. And I promised to make their carby favorites. But I also knew I could also make options just for me. I knew I could make it work. I am NOT making chess squares or caramel pie or any of my other favorite desserts because that would just be torture. But I AM having sweet potatoes, because I want them. And wine.

Last night Clyde and I had our nightly talk (this is how he unwinds after a long day) and we talked about my relationship with food and how I want to move forward in 2017 with my diet and journey. From HIS perspective, being super strict and eliminating entire food groups has just been another food 'behavior' that eventually I need to stop doing. He pointed out (correctly) that my addiction to food and my feelings surrounding food are all embedded from my childhood. I'm emotionally tied to food. He actually compared my bond to food to the way he feels when he is warm under bed covers.

When he was a child, he used to hide under the covers of his grandmother's bed when he was scared. That was his safe place.

He told me that food was my safe place. My security blanket.

And he's right. In so many ways. Because often our safety zone becomes the place where stop growing. We hide there and die because we are unable to move forward with life because of fear of failure. Fear of something different. Fear of getting cold and uncomfortable. At some point, our safe place becomes our prison. A house from an episode of Hoarders. Our fear of stepping outside suddenly becomes paralyzing and we need therapy and interventions and Xanax just to do something that most people consider "normal".

Will I ever be sane around food? Will I ever be able to handle moderation? Will I ever be able to eat "Thanksgiving" food and not obsess over carbs and calories?

I follow a variety of "food styles" on social media, and I have learned that food obsession can really go two different ways. Some people go from one extreme behavior toward food to another. Do I want to have peace with food, but still have to constantly monitor numbers and macros? Or do I want to learn how to eat intuitively and enjoy moderation on holidays? Do I want to spend hours a day on fitness? Or just move and exercise and have fun with it? Is food really just fuel? Or can it also represent love and family and friendship?

I made Clyde his favorite chocolate cake yesterday. And I know that while I was making that cake, I felt nothing but love. It made my heart happy to know that he was going to be surprised and happy when he saw it. As I was writing out the menu for today, I knew my kids would be overjoyed at having REAL macaroni and cheese. And that made me happy, too.

Food IS fuel for your body. But food is also love.

I don't want to obsess over food. I don't want to obsess over numbers... either on a scale or from macronutrients. I want to be healthy and I want to feed my body food that makes me feel good. 2016 has definitely given me insight to what foods work for my body, and which foods do not. It's been a learning process. Processed food and sugar are definitely out, because no matter what your food template is, they are poison to our body. But I do think I want to add more vegetables. I do think I want to eat less beef and pork (because my body just doesn't LOVE those two forms of meat).

I'm really just thinking out loud. Planning for 2017. Thinking about how to end this year strong and healthy. 2016 has been my most consistent year EVER and I'm so proud and grateful for all I've learned. For getting my HEALTH back. I've made progress mentally and physically and I am ready to make even more in 2017.


  1. Hugs to you at this difficult time of the year. So very proud of you for pushing through and making a fabulous holiday for your family!

    My relationship with food is also a bit you...for me food is is security. It's hard to let go of those two things because they are intrinsic to our souls. But ya know what? We got this!!!! It's a thing of moderation, manipulation and substitution. Moderate so that we still can feed our souls and moderation. Manipulate our days eating plans to allow for that special food on those days where we just need to taste 'mom's special dish' (or whatever) and substitution.....fill our lives with other loves!!!!

    We CAN have our cake and eat it too!!!! (That was too good to resist!)

  2. Food is either my "dope" or my "fuel". Hi, My name is Karen P and I'm a food addict. I am in long term recovery, so once I found my food sobriety, I've worked to keep it now over 6 years.

    Onward and food will either make you sick or keep you well. Here's to your eyes being wide open and the cyclic nature to stop. Take care, Hollie!

    I sure can't have cake and not be back into deep food addiction. I don't want or need that life anymore. 40 years is too long to be doped up on junk food. I have life I want to live.

  3. I like the way you related food to a security blanket. I think a lot of us are seeking comfort from some of the good memories that tastes and smells can bring. Good luck to you on your journey in 2017 :)

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